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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Vitti refuses to name names

So in the paper the other day the super said, I'm not gonna name names or anything but a while back a whole bunch of teachers didn't think poor and mostly minority children could make it. So we transferred them to richer mostly white schools, you know the ones without poor kids. 

From the I can't make this up file and the Times Union:

“Principals are owning what is happening with instruction,” he said. “They’re retaining high-performing teachers, and they’re having the difficult conversations with those who don’t meet expectations. They’re problem-solving with teachers.”
For instance, Vitti said without naming names, some teachers who held low expectations for their students from poor families were transferred from the schools, all six of which are high-poverty schools.
The faculty in the schools now are aware and make adjustments for students who need them to be more explicit or to “break down” lessons, Vitti said.
“They get out of that tradition that says, ‘I’ve taught it, now I’m moving on,’” he said. “Now they might have to reteach it.”

Deep breaths, deep breaths, now I don't want to be that guy who hates puppies because the super likes them, you know who is just anti-whatever the super says and does, just today in the paper he talked about the need for additional mental health resources something I have been writing about for nearly a decade because so often why a kid acts up or does poorly in school has nothing to do with school, so if the super recognizes that and can marshal more resources to dealing with the problem, then kudos to him and we will be better as a district for it, but that being said there is a lot to unpack in that Times Union passage.

First principals are just as often retaining new teachers who don't know they can say no and can be brow beaten into working eighty hours a week, while running off veterans. Good luck keeping them around for long.   

Then the super refuses to name names. Um does he have a list of teachers that think poor and mostly minority teachers can't make it? Was there a survey I missed and that was a question? At a meting did Mister and Miss so and so go you know what Superintendent Vitti, I'm not giving my all because have you noticed that my students are poor? Where is this list of names coming from? 

But say he has this list, he is at the same time saying, I'm gonna just shift them to more affluent schools because they will make more of an effort there. It is just the poor kids that they go through the motions with. does that sound rational to anyone? Maybe to a super who approved a charter school in an affluent area of town that he said he wouldn't let near poor kids, but I think to most of us that sounds pretty ridiculous. Also I have found that a lot of veteran teachers at our poorer schools think of it like a badge of honor, they aren't just collecting a check with their feet up on the table.   

Thank God we got rid of those crappy teachers right? 

UGH!!!! Are you kidding me? 

Why did those schools improve? Maybe it's city year, that is making a difference, or the QEA which pays veteran teachers a kings ransom to go to our neediest schools, and yes I am a critic of the QEA, but not of having veteran teachers work with our neediest students just the system we are using to do it. Maybe it's just one year and we got lucky, or maybe its the new test which the super has railed against which led to the gains at the schools that had all those crappy teachers who didn't believe in poor kids.

I have no doubt that there are great things going on at those schools just like there are at all our schools and for the most part I believe it is happening in spite of not because of the district and I believe I can use the last part of the TU passage as proof of that.

The super says, “They get out of that tradition that says, ‘I’ve taught it, now I’m moving on,’” he said. “Now they might have to reteach it.”

Um, what tradition is that? That's not a tradition I have ever heard of and I have been in the classroom for sixteen years, as for teachers reteaching, most I know lament that they can't because the pacing guide is to be so strictly enforced that any deviation is met with frowns and veiled threats. Is he talking about another district there or is he making up things out of whole cloth like he did with he won't name names thing?

Some of you might be thinking I am being to critical and that the schools and to some degree Superintendent Vitti deserve a victory lap and I agree on the lap. I just wish our super wold say something like, there is a lot of hard work going on at those schools and it paid off. That after all is really what happened.


  1. So much I could say, I am familiar with one of those schools, but I cannot. Not even anonymously. However, at one of those schools, enrollment continues to fall so I guess the parents don't agree about the improvement, school grade F to C notwithstanding.

  2. Let me make sure I comprehend what he is saying. Teachers have low expectations so they need to be moved out? Isn't that what the board just said to him? Aren't his expectations driving a read aloud curriculum for K-2 children because they don't need to hold books or look at print to be fluent readers. ( that idea from this new group His TNTP girlBrought in) I ask, who has the low expectations?

  3. If these teachers have low expectations of the children they are suppose to teach, then they should move on to another profession. Moving them to an affluent school with fluent readers is not the way to solve the problem. How do we expect the children to learn when you have teachers who have low expectations of them? This is a sad state of affairs!

  4. Vitti accusing teachers of having "low expectations" is like the pot calling the kettle black(see post above.) Teachers, especially new teachers, are increasingly tired of having to be both parent & teacher but we don't talk about that. We can't blame the parents. All teachers would love to teach but it isn't all gumdrops & lollipops at alot of Title I schools. Thank goodness for Voldemort's listening tour for all the good it'll do.